LIVING When spring entertaining comes back, Elyse Glickman has three family recipes from Mediterranean restaurant Soom Soom’s Ronit Machlouf
Elyse Glickman is US west coast editor of Lucire.
Some of our favourite neighbourhood Mom-and-Pop restaurants have rooted their businesses in family tradition. Israel native and West Valley resident Ronit Machlouf follows suit as a co-founder of home-grown Mediterranean restaurants Soom Soom. Even with its fast-casual format, Ronit insists that everything the kitchen turns out is ‘family style’, from recipes passed down through the generations to beautifully present large share plates.
When entertaining at home for friends and family, she practises what she preaches and encourages others to do the same. ‘When you make food for your family, you make it with your heart,’ Ronit explains. The advantage of family-style dishes is in the name. It brings your group of guests, whether family or friends, closer together. When everyone shares the same food, it builds a point of conversation and a shared memory. With family-style dishes, it also allows your guests to try a wide variety of things.’
She continues by pointing out that as the West Valley has numerous Israeli and Middle Eastern markets, farmers’ markets and specialty food shops that enable anybody to pull together a perfect springtime feast. ‘When you entertain at home, everybody who shows up is family. Therefore, try to know your guests. Do they have a favourite dish? Do they like chicken or beef, or are they vegetarians or vegans? Always try to provide a spread that offers a little for everyone. Being prepared means supporting local farms and businesses as we do, and being sure your ingredients are the best you can find.’
1 lb dry garbanzo beans
1 small onion, chopped
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
5 cloves garlic
1½ tbsp all-purpose flour
1¾ tsp salt
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp pepper flakes
Vegetable oil for frying
Soak garbanzos overnight in cold water. The next day, pour out the water and rinse garbanzo beans fully.
In a food processor pour the remaining ingredients and pulse-blend until everything is finely chopped. Roll falafel mix into one-inch balls.
In a deep frying pan, add canola oil and heat to 190°C. Place each falafel ball into frying pan and fry until golden brown.
Serve with hummus and enjoy.
1 lb cauliflower, about 1 medium-large head, trimmed and cut into ¼ inch-thick slices
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. While the water rises in temperature, clean the cauliflower centre. Blanch cauliflower for 3 minutes.
Season with salt, black pepper, and paprika. Place on a roasting tray lined with parchment paper and roast at 260°C for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and enjoy.
Chicken shawarma salad
For the chicken shawarma
¾ tbsp ground cumin
¾ tbsp turmeric
¾ tbsp coriander
¾ tbsp garlic powder
¾ tbsp paprika
½ tsp cayenne pepper
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 large onion sliced
1 large lemon
⅓ cup olive oil
For the salad
8 oz baby arugula
2 to 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 English cucumber, diced
¼ red onion, sliced
Extra virgin olive oil
1. In a bowl, mix cumin, turmeric, coriander, garlic powder, paprika and cloves.
2. Pat chicken dry and season with salt on both sides, then thinly slice into small chunks.
3. Place chicken in a large bowl. Add shawarma spices and toss to coat. Add onions, lemon juice and olive oil. Toss to combine. Set aside and prepare the salad. Place the arugula, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions in one large bowl.
4. In a small bowl combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and sumac.
5. Mix well. Pour dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
6. Heat a little bit of extra virgin olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over heat until simmering. Add chicken and cook for 6–8 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.
7. Place salad and chicken into serving bowls. Squeeze lemon on top for extra zest and serve with warm pita. •
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